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The Classics

Classic Cocktails Every Bartender Should Know: Aviation

In the early 1900’s a new cocktail burst on the scene known as the Aviation. It was invented by Hotel Wallick bartender Hugo Ensslin in New York City. The inspiration behind the drink is unknown, but one would think the fast talking, high flying (metaphorically speaking) socialite gentlemen of the New York scene in the early 1900’s might have been quite the influence for the name.

Aviation was first published in Ensslin’s 1916 Recipes for Mixed Drinks. It’s classic version included an ingredient that was left out for generations but thankfully has made it’s way back and added that much needed little something extra to make this cocktail one of the finest ever invented. Both men and women alike can enjoy this cocktail without judgment. 

The Recipe: Aviation


  • 2 oz – Gin (Originally El Bart Gin, Plymouth makes a great substitution)
  • 1 oz – Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 oz – Maraschino Liqueur
  • 1/4 oz – Violet Liqueur
  • Brandied Cherry

Tools and Glassware:

  • Martini Glass or Cocktail Glass
  • Double Strainer
  • Shaker
  • Strainer

How to prepare the drink:

First, fill a shaker with a 1 ounce pour of Lemon Juice, 1/2 ounce of Maraschino Liqueur, and lastly a 2 ounce pour of gin. Shake all of the ingredients for 20-30 seconds.

Once shaken, place a brandied cherry into a martini or cocktail glass then double strain the cocktail ingredients into the glass. Then slowly drizzle 1/4 ounce of Violet Liqueur in the middle for color effect as well as a touch of floral aroma and sweetness.

That’s it. Stop. You are finished. For a variation, you may use Plymouth or Blue Coat Gin if you can’t come across El Bart.

Mike Ginn
Written By

Husband, father, craft bartender, writer and content creator.

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